Richard Woods lost out on a spot in The Apprentice final tonight, making a “U-turn at the final hurdle” as he held his hands up to the fact that his business plan was full of “bullshit”.
‘Project X’ – an outsourced marketing business – promised to clear the clouds around clients’ business ambitions, illustrated as such with a drawing of a mountain. But when it came to putting forward a simple, easy to digest idea, it seemed Mr Woods – rather ironically – couldn’t see the wood for the trees (sorry, I think Lord Sugar’s punning obsession might be catching).
Ultimately, it seemed Lord Sugar couldn’t shake off concerns that Richard’s part ownership of comparable company Yomp would result in a conflict of interest and showed him the door.
Fresh from being booted out – Vana and Joseph now tussle for the title – Richard’s happy to admit it’s better to cut the crap and gives us a fuss-free summary of his exit, business idea and that Tricky Dicky nickname…
On being fired
“I was devastated. I genuinely, genuinely thought that I was going to win this show. I was just absolutely so frustrated with myself. But basically I just flowered my business plan with the most amount of bullshit you’ve seen. I was blagging from the start because the walls started coming down. I was just so gutted, so gutted. I took a U-turn at the final hurdle, that was the stupid thing about it.”
On being sucker-punched by new interviewer Linda
“Linda [Plant] spent the whole interview talking and not letting me get a word in edgeways. By the end of it I sat nodding like a Churchill dog. She murdered me on many different things. She was the unknown quantity, the rest of them I’d done a bit of research for. I fully expected Ricky Martin to be interviewing, not Linda. This tiny woman, I thought ‘this is great I’ll have a little flirt with her’, and out of nowhere she does a jab, jab, sucker-punch, bam and I’m coming out of there in the foetal position crying for my mum. Honestly, she killed me.”
On simplifying that business plan and suggestions it wasn’t a ‘unique idea’
“The reason why I didn’t go through was because, in my opinion, there was a conflict of interest and my company Yomp was already doing this trailblazer product. What I didn’t put in my plan was that I did it as a test with five clients for a whole twelve months before going on [the show]. One of them got marketing campaign of the year in 2014. It was brilliant.
“All I needed to say was that I’ve tested this with five clients – these things went really well etc – the new business is going to be 100% an outsource marking department and my current company Yomp is going to design websites and it will be fine. I didn’t do that and when Mike [Soutar] showed me that I’d already been doing the same thing with Yomp and said ‘You didn’t put that in your business plan, you’re lying…’ I didn’t twig that that would be a problem.
“I was essentially saying to Lord Sugar, I’ve been working in the marketing space for ten years and I know this is the best thing that I’ve had for a long time. I’ve even written a book about it. It’s a really great product.”
On sensing the game was up
“I don’t think I gave up, I think I felt the game was up. I think I was so disappointed in myself, for not seeing the issues they had and not including those test results in my business plan, I almost felt like I didn’t deserve it because I’d made that mistake.”
On why handing over all of his shares to his brother was actually a big risk
“I wasn’t originally going to do that but that’s what I eventually agreed,” Richard explained of trying to eliminate the conflict of interest by offering to sell his shares in Yomp.
“What I agreed to do was hand back more value in terms of money than what Lord Sugar was investing into my company. The shares that I own are worth far more than £250k. That’s how much I wanted to go forward with him.”
On still waiting for a call from Lord Sugar
To be honest with you, I’m still waiting for the phone call from him. Just saying ‘Look, Richard, I know that we said a few things, we all get a bit hot headed at times but I’ve made a mistake and I’d like you to be my business partner…’ And I’d say ‘Look, it’s fine, let’s have lunch, talk it through…’”
On being compared to David Brent
“I thought it was hilarious. My wife was like you’ve got to shut this down immediately. But I don’t mind, I love a catchphrase. I love being good humoured. To be honest with you, you can play a catchphrase up. I feel like I’m Ricky Gervais playing David Brent sometimes, as opposed to actually being and living David Brent.”
Gervais himself has been using the show as research for his Brent film…
And that Tricky Dicky nickname
“The Tricky Dicky thing was frustrating. To be honest with you, I don’t mind Tricky Dicky as a thing, whatever, my wife has called me Dicky since we met. Most people know me as Dicky strangely enough. But the political, the smarmy, the slimey… that is a load of crap because I’m very upfront with people; they know where they stand with me. I was frustrated by the nickname because I felt it was unfounded. It was just a bit too easy for people to use, basically.”
On missing the final
“To be honest with you I think the final should have consisted of only one candidate and it would have ended with W.O.O.D.S.”
On who should win
“I want Vana to win. I think Vana’s the most credible candidate. I think she knows what she’s doing and she’ll be a great leader. I think though, Joseph will win because it’s simple, it’s salt of the earth, Lord Sugar is going to easily understand it, easily scale it. I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of what Joseph does, but I think he’ll win it.”
On what’s next
Richard continues to run the much-discussed Yomp with his brother, alongside other businesses in the digital space. Project X – now Digital Trailblazer – runs as a sub-brand of the company, which has also seen him write a spin-off book of the same name.
Yes, they still use that image of a mountain.
The Apprentice concludes this Sunday on BBC1 at 9:00pm